Today (August 6, 2014): Review of One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives, one of the the world’s best resorts!
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: One&Only Reethi Rah
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso
Supreme and private luxury amid nature’s tropical magic, One&Only Reethi Rah is a jewel among the Maldives’ unrivalled luxury hotels. This glamorous resort, located on its own private island, offers 130 private resort villas well separated along the shore, either on the beach secluded by lush tropical greenery, or set above the clear, protected waters of the lagoon. Designed in an elegant contemporary style, these are among the largest resort villas in the world, and a favorite among celebrities such as David Beckham, Tom Cruise, Mariah Carey and Novak Djokovic. The 12 sugar white beaches are the epitome of a tropical paradise.
In this review (more info and photos below my slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Review of other luxury hotels in the Maldives
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- The island is rather large to Maldivian standards. It contains picture-perfect scenery and represents the epitome of paradise. There are no words to describe the breathtaking beauty of the 12 immaculate sugar-white beaches, the lush coconut grooves, and the blue lagoons.
- Round-trip airport transfers are done by luxury yacht and last about 50 minutes (a pure delight after your international flight to Maldives). When the transfers are not included in your package, they cost approximately $450 per person.
- The staff is very friendly and well-trained. Management was there to greet me upon arrival. Everybody is there to pamper you. Service at this resort is second to none. Simply the best ever.
- The resort features 129 wood and thatch villas discreetly placed along the shore, with 97 Beach Villas secluded by lush tropical greenery, and 32 Water Villas set above the clear, protected waters of the lagoon. Amongst the largest resort villas in the world, each is detached, expansive and equally luxurious. Villa interiors have high ceilings with a perfect balance of proportion and space, and bathroom suites with large stone soaking baths, designed for two. All feature wide-screen plasma TV, DVD/CD player with surround-sound system, iPod docking stations, and broadband internet access.
- For the duration of your stay, you will receive modern bikes (for Water and Beach Villas) or a private golf buggy (for Grand and Duplex Beach Villas) to get around and explore the island.
- The resort has 3 pools: a dazzling infinity pool that cuts into the lagoon and overlooks neighboring islands; a family-friendly pool shaded by trees and punctuated with mini hammock-toting islets; and a pool attached to the kids club, with a slide, shallow areas and even little sun loungers. There’s also a vitality pool attached to the impressive ESPA spa.
- The food is delicious and on pair with the best restaurants in the world. Dining options at the One&Only Reethi Rah include Tapasake for candlelit sushi above the lagoon, Arabian cuisine at Fanditha, glamorous Reethi restaurant, and the intimate Chef’s Garden, where the dishes feature resort-grown ingredients. The resort also offers many buffet nights, so you will not get bored gastronomically, even if you stay at the resort for 1 or 2 weeks. The Japanese restaurant requires a more formal dress code, but the athmosphere at the other restaurant is more relaxed.
- The Wednesday evening barbeque on the beach is not to be missed (albeit expensive at 240 USD per person).
- The breakfast buffet, daily served until 11 am, is superb: name it and you can have it. Truly, this is one of the most impressive and delicious breakfast buffet that I have ever enjoyed during my travels around the world (and I have seen a lot of them).
- Between 4 and 5 pm, the hotel offers complimentary tea near the main pool or the English-style Lawn Club. In fact, it is more of a complimentary buffet, with pancakes, scones, amuse-bouches, fruits, cakes, etc … It’s an awesome free perk (never experienced this at another hotel). So, if you have a late breakfast, you will have no need for lunch, as you will be able to still your afternoon hunger with this tea buffet.
- There are plenty of water-based activities on-site, from water skiing to windsurfing, but the challenge will be to drag yourself away from the luxury of your (overwater) villa.
- Do not miss a treatment at the spectacular ESPA spa, one of the world’s best hotel spas. The ambience of the treatment rooms (individual thatch villas overlooking the ocean) are as relaxing as the massages.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
This is one of the few resorts in the world that is close to perfection. There are no real cons, just some things you need to know:
- The island is largely man-made (the original island was largely extended). You can not really ‘see’ it at first. The vegetation is very tropical and does feel very natural, as are the beaches and the lagoons. Nevertheless, when you walk on the beach at the Beach Club, which is the only natural beach with powdery white sand (and an incredibly blue lagoon), then you can feel the difference with the other 11 beaches where the sand is little more rough (or less powdery). But this may not put you off: the island’s beauty is beyond words and even (much) nicer than some of the authentic Maldivian islands.
- While the water villas are tremendously impressive, their outside decks do not offer any privacy at all, especially during daylight. Your neighbours will see you as well as the (few) people on the deserted beaches as you are exposed to them. So, if outdoor privacy is a must for you, then do not book a water villa but go for a beach villa instead (where outdoor privacy is guaranteed).
- The resort is not cheap, but you know that when you book a villa here. Having said that, it is a little more expensive as compared to the other top resorts in the Maldives. A 3 course-meal (without wine and without the heavy taxes) at one of the restaurants will be around 140 USD per person, so try to book a halfboard package. The most important thing is that, while it is not cheap, it is worth the investment as you will experience a brilliant, top-notch holiday.
- Granted, there a hotels with more beautiful house reefs in the Maldives. But about 100 meters (or 300 feet) in front of the beach club, there is nice reef with plenty of underwater life (you can reach that reef, either by swimming or taking a pedalo). In addition, at night, there are always stingrays and sharks in the waters around the overwater villas.
- No other holiday will ever compare to this one, so be prepared, you may need to return, again and again and again … 🙂
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 10/10
- Rooms: 10/10
- Food: 10/10
- Service: 10/10
- Overall experience: exceptional: 9,8/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like the One&Only Reethi Rah (and/or receive many free perks).
- Save money: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso, such as villa upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and exclusively designed Reethi Rah Kaftans, coupled with a One&Only Maldives at Reethi Rah Signature Organic Candle. With a minimum stay of 7 nights, guests booking through Virtuoso also receive a complimentary ‘Secrets of the Thila’ excursion or a complimentary dinner for two in the Reethi Restaurant excluding beverages.
- Save money: from time to time, One&Only Reethi Rah features on Jetsetter, which offers the best deal (with huge savings of hundreds of dollars).
- All villas are excellent, regardless of location. While the sunset side of the island is my favorite (simply because of the spectacular sunsets to be enjoyed from your private villa), one has to keep in mind that the sunset side of the island has more windy weather and rougher waters as compared to the sunrise side of the island (especially in the wet season, which runs from May to October).
- If privacy is a must, book a beach villa, not a water villa.
- Do not miss the happy hour (2 coctails for the price of one) at the luxurious Fanditha bar with sunset views.
- Book a package including transfers and (breakfast minimum) meal plan to avoid huge extra costs. Half-board, with breakfast and dinner, should satisfy everyone.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
REVIEW OF OTHER LUXURY HOTELS IN THE MALDIVES
- Hotel review: Jumeirah Dhevanafushi (Maldives)
- Review: Soneva In Aqua, the Maldives’ first floating villa
- Review: Soneva Fushi, the Maldives’ most exclusive resort
- Hotel review: Maalifushi by COMO (Maldives)
- Hotel review: Naladhu, South Male Atoll (Maldives)
- Hotel review: One&Only Reethi Rah (Maldives)
- Hotel review: Gili Lankanfushi (Maldives)
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best weather in the Maldives is between January and April, which also means high season (and high hotel prices). The monsoon runs from May to October, peaking in June. It is worth paying higher prices and sticking to the dry season as there is nothing to do on a rainy day except drink, eat, work out, or scuba dive. Especially November and December, which are often labelled as dry season months, have been very unsettled in recent years.
HOW TO GET THERE
The resort is located a 50-minute boat trip away from Male International Airport (UVF). Check the Wikipedia page of Male International Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that fly to the Maldives. The following airlines have regularly scheduled flights to Male International Airport:
- From/via Asia: Bangkok Airways (via Bangkok), Tigerair (via Singapore), Singapore Airlines (via Singapore), Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong), Air India (via Bangalore, Chennai, Thiruvanathapuram), China Eastern Airlines (via Colombo, Kunmnig), Cina Southern Airlines (via Guanghzou), Hainan Airlines (via Bejing), Korean Air (via Colombo and Seoul), Shanghai Airlines (via Shanghai), Srilankan Airlines (via Colombo), Maldivian (Chennai, Chongqing, Colombo, Dhaka, Thiruvanathapuram), Mega Maldives (via Bejing, Hong Kong, Shanghai).
- From/via Middle East: Emirates (via Dubai), Flybudai (via Dubai), Qatar Airways (via Doha), Etihad Airways (via Abu Dhabi), Oman Air (via Muscat), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul).
- From/via Europe: Austrian Airlines (via Vienna), British Airways (via London), Thompson Airways (via London), Monarch Airlines (via London), Condor (via Frankfurt), Edelweiss Air (via Zurich), Meridiana (via Rome or Milan), Neos (via Rome or Milan), Transaero Airlines (via Moscow).